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Elevator Pitch Part 2: Why You?

by Tim Berry

(Note: this is taken with permission from Planning Startups Stories)

In the next part of your elevator pitch address ‘why you’? Why your business? What’s special about you that makes your offering or solution interesting to the target person or organization you just identified (Part 1 of this series).

This is where you bring in your background, your core competence, your track record, your management team, or whatever. For example:

The Trunk Club invented the best-possible solution to this problem. Founder Joanna Van Vleck first succeeded in sales at Nordstrom’s and then took her personalized shopping-for-other style into a hugely successful first market in Bend, OR. Now, having proven the idea on the front lines …

Palo Alto Software has dedicated itself to business planning for more than 20 years. Its founder is one of the best-known experts in the field. Its current management team grew up with business planning, in the trenches. The 8-person development team has more than 50 person years in the same focused area.

Palo Alto Software has been managing this email problem internally for more than 10 years now, and has been working with its own in-house solution for nine years. It has a very strong relationship with hundreds of thousands of small but growing businesses.

What we focus on here is core competence and differentiation. And, in the classic elevator speech, you have to say it fast. You make your point quickly and go on.

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Make sure your point is the right point: benefits to the target customer. It’s not what’s great about you, but rather, what about you lends credibility to your ability to meet the need and solve the problem.

I’ve included two different paragraphs for the same company on purpose. See how the unique qualifications differ for different contexts. It’s the same company, but in the second example it’s relating its speech to Business Plan Pro, the flagship product. In the third example it’s building up Email Center Pro, the new product. The descriptions have to change for each.

You might also think of this as the classic “what do you bring to the party?” question. It’s not just your brilliance or good looks or great track record, it’s fostering credibility for solving the problem.

Its members grab the phone and call. “I need more casual stuff for the golf course, or cargo pants for hiking, or two more slacks and sports coat combinations.”

Read the other articles in this series.
Elevator Pitch Part 1: Personalize?
Elevator Pitch Part 3: What you offer
Elevator Pitch Part 4: Finish strong
Elevator Pitch Part 5: Delivery

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